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Salma Hayek Gets Emotional About Manchester Attack at Cannes Women in Motion Talk

Variety logo Variety 5/23/2017 Elsa Keslassy
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Salma Hayek broke down in tears at Kering’s Women in Motion Talk in Cannes Tuesdsay after she was asked about her reaction to Monday’s suicide bombing at Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, England.

“I’m terrified. I don’t know what to say to my daughter. I’m still emotionally impacted,” said Hayek, referring to the explosion which killed 22 people and injured 59 others.

Hayek lives in London with her husband, François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s CEO and chairman, and 9-year daughter, who she said is a fan of Grande.

“Ariana Grande is her favorite singer. If this concert had been in London, she would have been there. With or without me,” said Hayek in tears.

Hayek was speaking at a panel which also brought together Greek-French film director and producer Costa Gavras, and Kaouther Ben Hania, whose harrowing rape drama “Beauty and the Dogs” premiered at Un Certain Regard.

Hayek also spoke about sexism in America and how the election of Donald Trump had been a wake-up call.

“We are getting a clear view of what is really happening in our society. In America, now we know that racism and sexism are very strong. Before it was like America, ‘the land of the freedom,’ and now it’s very clear,” said Hayek, who is a leading force behind the Kering Foundation which combats violence against women and celebrates its 10th year anniversary.

Hayek also pointed out that Trump’s win has also spurred discussions in other countries. “We just had the election in France — it was very close,” said Hayek, alluding to the qualification of far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen for the second round of the election.

The actress and producer said she credited the Kering talks for sparking a debate over gender equality in the entertainment world, including in Cannes.

“The executives always listen to the money. They are very interested in the (issue of women in the industry) (…) and they are still a little bit lost, don’t know exactly how to get to them, but now they are like: ‘Oh, my God there is money, let’s go get the women!” quipped Hayek, who also noted that there were more female-directed films playing in competition at Cannes for the last couple years.

Still, only seven percent of movies in the U.S. are directed by women very few get to direct blockbusters.

During the panel, Ben Hania discussed her movie “Beauty and the Dogs” which centers on a young Tunisian woman who is raped by police officers after leaving a party and faces a justice system which is biased in favor of her tormentors.

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